I am half of a woman without an expertly flicked, crisp matte black cat eye. I am one quarter of a woman with said cat eye, smudged, smeared, or generally melted into my eyelid. Believe me, I love a good grungy look (like, more than you even know), but when it comes to my liquid liner, I am not screwing around.
I also have really oily eyelids. I don’t know why I have this (cursed), what causes it (genetics), or how to address it (can’t). For someone who loves all things involving over-the-top, painstakingly-applied, flawless eye makeup, oily lids are what one might call tragic. I have since resigned myself to this fact and to the only way I can respond: by slapping on multiple primers and hoping for the best. For the most part, eyeliners and eyeshadows both still crease on me by midday (which is a strong improvement from, like, twenty minutes after I put it on). I have tried every primer from the most expensive and highly recommended to random drugstore buys. I’ve also tried — this is not a joke — probably 75% of the liquid liners available on the market. I can rattle off the names: YSL, Chanel, Dior, Chantecaille, Stila, Urban Decay, every drugstore formula available ever and beyond.
One has worked. One liquid eyeliner, of all of these, does not transfer to my upper lid within hours. One liquid liner stays on all day and all night. (This is a lot like Lord of the Rings, if you couldn’t tell.) That liner is Maybelline Line Stiletto.
Price/Availability: It’s, like, $7 at any drugstore. Walgreen’s, CVS, Rite Aid, Duane Reade, whichever you like, it’s there. You can also order it online from multiple stores, including here at drugstore.com, where it’s $5.59.
Packaging: Simple, no-frills, no learning curve. It’s just a black tube. You twist the cap off and there’s an applicator attached to a wand. I really like the applicator, which is like a thin, tapered piece of felt rather than a brush, and I think it makes the liner especially easy to apply.
Formula: Goes on easily, doesn’t smudge even if you want it to (why you would want to smudge your liquid liner is beyond me), dries quickly, and (bonus!) is matte, which I love. It’s a very black black, no dark brown or dark gray. I use tapered q-tips to fix my eye makeup after I apply, and I find that many liquid liners get a weird edge when you try to clean up the line. This one doesn’t. It also doesn’t crack, flake, or form “gaps” throughout the day.
Wear Time: All day long, bitches! No, seriously, it doesn’t come off unless you want it to. I accidentally rub my eyes all the time and it doesn’t budge.
Overall: Holy grail status. I couldn’t exist without it.